Monday, June 6, 2016
Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 52 (Dark Horse, Volume 1, 1998-2003)
Creators: Scott Lobdell (plot), Fabian Nicieza (script), Cliff Richards (pencils), Will Conrad (inks)
Setting: Between movie and Season 1
T.V./Movie Character Appearances: Pike, Buffy, Angelus, Quentin Travers, Giles, Gwendolyn Post, Wesley,
Major Original Characters: Willem Bryardale (Watcher), The Manager (Golden Touch Casino manager)
Summary: Pike and Buffy have gained employment at the Golden Touch Casino in Las Vegas. Pike will be working as a valet, while Buffy is a coat-check girl, and together they hope to discover the truth behind the rumor that that there is vampire activity in the area. Meanwhile, Angelus has been hired by the casino's manager as a personal bodyguard, but the vampire's real mission is to meet the owners of the casino. Pike witnesses vampire employees of the casino murdering a gambling debt deadbeat, and tries to fight them with little luck until Buffy arrives and stakes them instantly. Thousands of miles away, in England, Rupert Giles has a run-in with his rival, Willem Bryardale. Both are being considered for the new role of Watcher for Buffy. Giles prospects are dimmed, however, by Wesley Wyndham-Price reporting to Quentin Travers that Giles has been researcing forbidden magicks. Back at the Golden Touch, Pike and Buffy find themselves on the run from several Golden Touch vampires. Buffy prepares to fight, only to realize that they've already have Pike in their grasp And as for Angelus: he asks one too many questions and he ends up getting tossed through a doorway . . . and into the past!
I'll start by saying that the interior artwork is gorgeous. Buffy as a coat-check girl could be a poster. The idea of getting Buffy and Pike in Las Vegas has been a great one, as it's nice to see some non-Sunnydale, non-Scoobies stories for Buffy. Pike is characterised as a bit of a weiner here, which I don't remember from previous stories with him. I also haven't quite figured out Angelus' purpose in the book yet; why he's asking questions, and so forth. Probably not really needed, especially because the script requires him to narrowly avoid Buffy at every turn. Some great cameos and callbacks in the Watcher's Council pages: Gwendolyn Post and Wesley!
* A note from editor Scott Allie on the letters page talks about how the comic might not always fit within the continuity established by the show, but that should be a secondary consideration to telling a good story. I'm not sure the fans agree with this commonly expressed editorial statement . . .
* Chock-full of Buffy product acts: the role-playing game, Season Three DVDs, a Dark Horse Comics contest, and a ton of cool collectibles. This was a golden age for Buffy stuff . . .